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The Optimal Capital Structure of an Economy

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  • Gersbach, Hans

Abstract

We examine the optimal allocation of equity and debt across banks and industrial firms when both are faced with incentive problems and firms borrow from banks. Increasing bank equity mitigates the bank-level moral hazard but may exacerbate the firm-level moral hazard due to the dilution of firm equity. Competition among banks does not result in a socially efficient level of equity. Imposing capital requirements on banks leads to the socially optimal capital structure of the economy in the sense of maximizing aggregate output. Such capital regulation is second-best and must balance three costs: excessive risk-taking of banks, credit restrictions banks impose on firms with low equity, and credit restrictions due to high loan interest rates.

Suggested Citation

  • Gersbach, Hans, 2003. "The Optimal Capital Structure of an Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 4016, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4016
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Douglas W. Diamond & Raghuram G. Rajan, 2000. "A Theory of Bank Capital," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(6), pages 2431-2465, December.
    2. Blum, Jurg & Hellwig, Martin, 1995. "The macroeconomic implications of capital adequacy requirements for banks," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(3-4), pages 739-749, April.
    3. Besanko, David & Kanatas, George, 1993. "Credit Market Equilibrium with Bank Monitoring and Moral Hazard," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 6(1), pages 213-232.
    4. Takeo Hoshi & Anil Kashyap & David Scharfstein, 1993. "The Choice Between Public and Private Debt: An Analysis of Post-Deregulation Corporate Financing in Japan," NBER Working Papers 4421, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Boot, Arnoud W A & Thakor, Anjan V, 1997. "Financial System Architecture," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 10(3), pages 693-733.
    6. Bhattacharya, Sudipto & Boot, Arnoud W A & Thakor, Anjan V, 1998. "The Economics of Bank Regulation," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 30(4), pages 745-770, November.
    7. Xavier Freixas & Jean-Charles Rochet, 1997. "Microeconomics of Banking," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061937, January.
    8. Calomiris, Charles W & Kahn, Charles M, 1991. "The Role of Demandable Debt in Structuring Optimal Banking Arrangements," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(3), pages 497-513, June.
    9. Douglas W. Diamond, 1984. "Financial Intermediation and Delegated Monitoring," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(3), pages 393-414.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gersbach, Hans, 2013. "Bank capital and the optimal capital structure of an economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 241-255.
    2. Hans Gersbach, 2013. "Preventing Banking Crises--with Private Insurance?," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 59(4), pages 609-627, December.
    3. Hans Gersbach & Volker Hahn, 2011. "Modeling Two Macro Policy Instruments - Interest Rates and Aggregate Capital Requirements," CESifo Working Paper Series 3598, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    bank capital; banking regulation; capital structure of the economy; double incentive problems; financial intermediation;

    JEL classification:

    • D41 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Perfect Competition
    • E40 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - General
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General

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